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Latest count is 91 in series of area crack cocaine arrests

By Bryan Richardson

A total of 91 people had been arrested as of Friday morning as a result of an investigation into the distribution of crack cocaine in Riley and Geary counties.

Tim Brown, chief of the Junction City Police Department, said “Operation Adabag” is the biggest bust he’s experienced in his 35 years with the department. Old-timers in Manhattan were scratching their heads in an effort to recall anything even approaching that scope here, either.

Due to the ongoing nature of the case, authorities had little specifically to say about what the investigation revealed concerning crack cocaine operations in the area. Brown said he couldn’t comment on the identity of the leader of the drug ring or the number of additional arrests expected.

The investigation started 13 months ago with drug units in Riley County Department and Geary County Sheriff’s Office. It involved the use of undercover officers and agents, confidential informants and surveillance.

While Brown didn’t mention an increase in drug-specific crimes as a catalyst for the investigation, he said total crime increased by 13 percent last year in Junction City.

“Many individuals that are addicted to those particular drugs are going to commit crimes to buy those drugs,” he said.

Brown said intelligence last October revealed this to be a significant drug ring. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Geary County Attorney’s Office, Junction City Police Department and the Grandview Plaza Police Department also contributed to the investigation.

The arrests came after officers from multiple agencies spent the last two days searching 54 locations throughout Manhattan, Junction City, Ogden and Grandview Plaza.

During the searches, crack cocaine, other illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia, 18 vehicles and 16 firearms were seized. Also, 17 children were taken into protective custody.

Brown said there was only one injury related to the arrests. That involved a female officer who injured her hand as a suspect attempted to run away.

RCPD director Brad Schoen said this is an example of taxpayers’ money at work as well as the ability of agencies to collaborate.

“If you’re one of the bad guys, just know that no matter where you are, you really can’t hide,” he said. “You get on the radar, we’re going to work together to find you.”

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